Could you smile if you were facing 15yrs in prison for cutting in line at Wal-Mart? Will Heather Ellis receive a fair trial? Only we can ensure that she does.

On the day that the president of the United States signed the Mathew Shepard Hate Crimes Bill into law, it’s ironic that I run with this story. Imagine that, a Black man as president signing a federal hate crimes bill. If that doesn’t make our ancestors proud I don’t know what would, but I guess I’m just sentimental like that.

Sadly, the smiling lady in the picture above may not be smiling too brightly these days. No she’s not one of those angry sisters unhappy because some guy took a hike leaving her to raise children all by her lonesome. Instead, she’s a pre-med student with a promising future who stands the chance of being sentenced to 15yrs in prison for cutting in line at a Wal-Mart shopping center in her hometown.

Check it out:

Wait a minute; did somebody say something about the KKK?

Dang, and here I thought the Klan was dead in this here post-racial America…

These fools have business cards? Stepping up in the world aren’t they?

Oh well, as always, there are two sides to every story, and as for the Klan angle:

“It has been a total nightmare,” said her father, Rev. Nate Ellis, a Church of God in Christ pastor. “My daughter has been mistreated. She has been convicted before trial.”

Rev. Ellis said at one point a Kennett police officer brought KKK cards to two people participating in marches on his daughter’s behalf. Ellis said the officer indicated he had collected the cards from along a street and laughed as he delivered them. Ellis and supporters read the move as an attempt at intimidation.

County Prosecutor Sokoloff, reached at his office, said that on the day of the rally for Heather Ellis, “somebody, and it’s unknown who,” had strewn some KKK cards that were not associated with any chapter or locality on one of the streets of the parade rally.

“The police went out, found them and picked them up and took them and showed them to one of the family members organizing the thing and told them, ‘we’ve found these laying on the ground, we picked them up and we thought you might want to know about this.’ They instantly accused the police of actually distributing them.” (Read more here)

Look, my name isn’t Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson or Michael Baisden; I’m not a celebrity with a Black radio-show with the ability to drum up enough support to have thousands converge on the small town where this woman lives. Of course I’m not sure if something like that has been done before. But it seems like with enough attention it can be done. I first came across this story via my local Memphis newscast (as shown in both above videos) and The Big Black News Blog last week (shout-out to my man Timothy Fitz who runs that blog).

In an effort to spread the word and make it happen, can you do me a favor to pass on this information? There is a scheduled march in the city of Kennett Missouri on November 12th in support of Heather. If you’re not able to make it, the least you can do is post a blog if you have one (or even link back to this post) to get more people involved; spread the word people. Yes, we need to make some noise about this one all across the country folks.

Also, if you’re in the local Memphis area; the SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Council) is hosting a benefit concert at 7PM on October 30th at Greenwood C.M.E. Church here in Memphis TN. If you’re able to attend, I’m sure your support will be greatly appreciated.

Lastly, while you’re here, be sure to visit the site and sign the petition requesting U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s intervention, as well as the Missouri State Attorney General Chris Koster, to ensure that justice is served. Remember, it’s not about how much you do, or what you do, it’s about making a difference